Special trade deal for Ireland possible in Brexit negotiations - Labour
“We can’t have a tariff system between Ireland and the UK," Labour leader Brendan Howlin told the Irish Farmers Journal. "I know from talking to British politicians that there is no preparedness for this. Talk of no hard border, no tariffs is easy but we need to have a plan to ensure that the negotiators in the EU will understand the special position of the island of Ireland.”
Howlin was speaking at the National Ploughing Championships which he attended on Thursday with Labour's agricultural spokesperson Willie Penrose.
“We are aware, like everybody else in the country right now, that farmers have gone through a torrid year,” Howlin said at the Ploughing. “Expectations among food producers once the quota system changed was that the prices would be maintained and they collapsed. Cereal farmers are under pressure. Every sector is under pressure.”
Howlin was critical of Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed’s decision to establish a tillage forum. He said that forums must “reach conclusions and not simply be a matter of talk.”
“The default position with this Government on everything is to have a new forum for everything, anything to long-finger a decision,” Howlin said, adding that under the previous government it was necessary to establish a beef forum to bring together processors and farm organisations in a way that hadn’t been done before. “Dialogue is important,” Howlin said.